Veterans have one of the highest rates of suicide in comparison to other groups. Suicide, often caused by PTSD or other mental health problems, is a last resort for the war heroes that have served our country.
For those who served during great times of need, danger was a normality. A soldier’s platoon was his or her support group for dealing with all of the horrific things that came with enduring the war. Coming back home from the perils of war surrounded them with a new unfamiliarity: how does one go back to a normal life after dealing with continuous fear? Most deal with this struggle on a day-to-day basis, until it becomes all consuming and they fall into a deep depression, not knowing whom to turn to or what to do next.
Many of the individuals facing this situation are Vietnam veterans. They were enlisted in a war that the country was deeply polarized about. For most, they had the choice of being drafted or leaving the country. When coming back to the United States, they received no traditional homecoming. Instead, they were greeted with hostility and distain.
Similarly, the return of the veterans of the wars in the Middle East unfolded the same way. Returning soldiers often came back to the States to face hatred from people who did not agree with the government’s decision to invade Iraq or Afghanistan. They carry this trauma with them throughout their daily lives.
Keeping all of this trauma bottled up may cause someone to feel like he or she has no way out, leading to a higher risk of suicide. The first step into suicide prevention is to establish a community in which veterans may comfortably confide in. With the help of American Legion and the Veteran’s hospital, programs have been set up in which veterans may help each other. The answer to their loneliness and frustration may not always lie within medications. Even talking to a therapist may not be the solution. The key is to go out and talk to people who have endured the same hardships as you and may relate to you on a personal level.
If you are interested in helping, contact the organizations below to see how you may help save a life of a fellow soldier:
American Legion (631)724-1804
Veteran’s Hospital (631) 261-4400
By Aleksandra Aronova